Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving” ~ Terry Pratchett.
If you’ve ever lived abroad, you’re bound to notice differences in even the smallest of things when you finally return back home. These smaller “first world problems” might be enough to make you groan but there are also meaningful dilemmas that may be reason for you to convince others why they should never become an expat.
For now I’ll be addressing the smaller, first world problems.
When an opportunity arose for me to move to Wellington, New Zealand I literally jumped at it. I got so used to living there after 8 months that I almost forgot what life was like back home in Australia. Really! I’ve written about my experience and why earthquakes can be likened to your little brother.
Compared to others I know spending 8 months abroad is not a long time, although it was to me. But why? How is living abroad different to living at home?
Here are 12 surprising problems I was confronted with on my arrival home that meant I’d been away for too long. Maybe you’ll able to relate to these too, particularly if your trip was for business and you were fortunate enough to be put up in a hotel or serviced apartment for an extended period.
You know you’ve been living abroad too long when you come home and you suddenly realise…
#1 You’re slamming everything
Doors, kitchen cupboards and drawers in your home get a brutal treatment in the first few days because the ones you got used to needed more force to close. You also try opening these things in the wrong areas.
#2 You have a new appreciation for sharp knives and decent cookware
Seriously, some of the communal kitchen equipment in hotels and serviced apartments completely ruins my day.
#3 Your TV and fridge are suddenly giant
Compared to the size of hotel ones, since when was your old TV like being at the movie theatre?! You also realise you should win some kind of international Tetris award for the way you got used to squeezing your grocery shopping into a fridge not too much bigger than a mini-bar one 🏆
#4 There’s awkward waking moments
That split second you think you’re still in your abroad bedroom when you wake up. It’s surreal in the first few mornings as your brain doesn’t quite register where you are, you’ve been living abroad too long.
#5 You have teleporting doorhandles
Some kind of fairy has shifted all the doorhandles in your home down several inches during your absence.
#6 Your home appliances are actually simple
Suddenly your microwave is easier to use than you previously thought, due to the weird buttons and sequences required on your hotel one. This also applies to white goods. Who knew you needed a zillion different buttons to get a clothes dryer working?
#7 You’re no longer royalty
Having frequent housekeeping made you feel like you belonged in some sort of Royal Family. Those days are now over and you need to clean up after yourself. Ha.
#8 You’re confusing your cupboards
You forgot what supplies you have in your home cupboards as you mix them up with the recent stuff you had abroad.
#9 You feel like a foreigner in your home city
For me, coming back home to Australia and hearing Aussie accents again unexpectedly made everyone sound bogan…
#10 Realise the same temperature can feel drastically different
For instance, 18°C/64°F may usually be quite a warm day where you were living abroad. If you’ve returned home to a country with quite high humidity you’ve probably forgotten that 18°C/64°F is actually bloody freezing! Time to dig out those Ugg boots instead of throwing on a t-shirt.
#11 It takes a while to get used to your home currency again
Until now you didn’t notice some coins from home were large enough to be used as doorstops… Or that awkward moment when you say to the cashier “Oh, I’ve got that extra dollar” when you’re sifting through your wallet for change but the currency you’re meant to be using is the Euro or other currency. It’s the little things 😆
#12 You’re disappointed to do the grocery shopping
The chocolate, cheese and cider you fell in love with abroad isn’t available in your local supermarket at home. Sigh.
These 12 signs are just a few that greeted me when I tried to get back to normal life in my home country. Do you have any others that could be added to this list? What things surprised you? I’d love to hear what you noticed when you moved back home!
Until next time,
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